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Early postcard view
The Century Building
The Century Building, designed by Raeder, Coffin & Crocker, was built in 1896. It was home to offices, stores, and the ornate 1600-seat Century Theater, entered via the grand 9th Street archway and a sumptuous staircase and marble-lined foyer beyond. Its ten stories were clad in Georgia limestone (three shades, lightening from bottom to top), shaped into Classically derived decoration, hot on the heels of the the neo-Classical / Beaux Arts revival that followed the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. A lengthy supplemental article about the building in Inland Architect hailed it as "an example of the result of the most careful study of the demands made upon a building devoted to commercial purposes". Ornamental ironwork adorned the interior, and the building's roofline was punctuated by spires.
In 1912, the first 8 stories of the Century were connected to its younger neighbor, the Syndicate Trust (originally the Century Annex), a 1906 16-story tower with Chicago School influences and a plethora of ornament.
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